Sorting



Citation:

John Schouten (1991) ,"Sorting", in SV - Highways and Buyways: Naturalistic Research from the Consumer Behavior Odyssey, eds. Russell Belk, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 112-113.

Highways and Buyways: Naturalistic Research from the Consumer Behavior Odyssey, 1991     Pages 112-113

SORTING

John Schouten

We move again,

this time cross-country, so we spend

a day in the basement

deciding what to save, what to throw away.

 

Certain things we keep --

a cast iron skillet,

some silver pieces from our wedding

wrapped in tissue --

 

other things, old parkas,

boots and the like go into a box

for Goodwill it's little enough.

Then I come to the deep stuff.

 

Stuff from my youth.

A microscope my father gave me

when I was six or seven

I keep for my own sons

 

now seven, five and three.

I picture them marvelling

at the same prepared slides I stared at as a child,

wishing for one more step in magnification,

 

one step closer to that secret world ....

Other things I do not pass down.

A shoe box crammed with letters

from old girlfriends:

 

I pull one out of its envelope

and start to read. The words seem to fade

to nothing in my hands. I imagine

the rest as blank sheets

 

folded neatly in their envelopes.

I throw them away.

And a box of black and white photos:

one or two, a wheelbarrow,

 

a gash in a tree, pique my imagination.

Others have lost their meaning.

I throw them away.

One I find belongs to my mother.

 

It is my father at nineteen

or twenty in a sailor's uniform

with thick. curly hair

and eyes that shine forty years later

 

like the eyes of a twenty-year-old.

God, he was handsome.

Just yesterday we sat over Cokes

in an airport lounge, rattling the ice in our cups,

 

when he told me of a weakness they had found

in his heart. He described it in medical terms

and laughed it off. He said

it would make the end come quick and painless.

----------------------------------------

Authors

John Schouten



Volume

SV - Highways and Buyways: Naturalistic Research from the Consumer Behavior Odyssey | 1991



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